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Antivirus Software Isn’t Enough to Protect Your Business. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Posted: Jan 2022

Beyond antivirus software, protect your business in 2022.

Ordinary anti-virus (AV) software will not protect your business from cyberattacks. As we head into 2022, ransomware in particular has grown into a global problem for businesses of all sizes. From the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack to the more recent Kaseya cyberattack, everyone in the IT industry is fighting back against a crush of new malware, especially ransomware.

Notwithstanding that reality, the good news is that there are software tools available like End-Point Detection and Response (EDR), Extended Detection and Response (XDR), and Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services that can thwart intrusions when properly utilized. Here’s a look at what you need to know to protect your business moving forward.

Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is here to stay – and it’s as lucrative as ever for cybercriminals

The ransomware industry is a multibillion-dollar business, and the ransoms required to decrypt networks and files after an attack are only rising. According to research by Sophos, the average ransomware payout was $170,404 in 2020, with some businesses paying substantially higher amounts. Still, you have to wonder how hackers can enjoy this level of success and operate with impunity. The answers are complex, but the proliferation of RaaS exploit kits certainly isn’t helping.

Ransomware can look every bit as functional as genuine customer relationship management software, including multiple payment options, and calls-to-action to lower the ransom. It’s this “fear of missing out” that often tips the scales in the hacker’s favor despite a business’s capability to restore systems and data after an attack.

What makes matters worse is that the actual authors of the ransomware didn’t even need to participate in the attack. They essentially rent out their platforms and take a percentage of the profits, much like an affiliate marketing model. Thus, a novice hacker with minimal skills can cause just as much damage as a sophisticated malware author. It is for this reason that Managed Detection and Response (MDR) when layered with EDR/XDR is critical in achieving the highest level of protection for your business.

Where AV solutions fall short

The reality of ransomware – and any malware, really – is that evading standard AV solutions are step one when coding malware. There is a misconception that cyberattacks are the work of a lone wolf. Ransomware gangs are responsible for some of the biggest attacks over the past year. They are persistent and constantly adjust their tactics, techniques, and procedures to break into the more well-defended networks.

Whereas AV solutions depend on the signature matching of known threats, EDR/XDR solutions actively protect endpoints through an alerts-based setup. This type of software analyzes data to identify where the attack came from, how the malware is currently behaving, and how to respond in real time to the threat. Out-of-the-box, standard AV software simply can’t stand up to today’s evolution of growing ransomware threats.

How EDR/XDR and MDR services work together

The best protection your business can achieve is a layered approach. Given the threats are complex and cybercriminals sometimes adjust their methods during the actual attack, much ransomware is essentially polymorphic malware. When faced with a sophisticated, advanced malware author incorporating Managed Detection and Response (MDR) through an expert, like Bridgehead IT, you have access to a team of security solutions experts.

While EDR/XDR works well at protecting end-points – all end-points and networks, MDR also protects both end-points and the network with a managed service poring over alerts to detect irregular and malicious activity in its nascent form. You get the most protection when you combine these two solutions. The bottom line? Sophisticated threats require sophisticated safeguards like an EDR/XDR with a service layer to incorporate an MDR solution.

What’s the solution moving forward?

When built on a foundation of best practices, and holistic cyber security planning, MDR, and EDR/XDR will carry businesses safely into the future and thwart attacks before it’s too late. At BridgeheadIT, we can provide a complete technology assessment so your business has a clear outline of best practices moving into the future.

What makes the situation more urgent is that zero-day exploits continue to upend the cybersecurity world. As recently as a few weeks ago, a new exploit dubbed Log4Shell allows for remote code execution on open-source Apache servers.

The alternative? A patchwork of solutions that may or may not be able to stop the newest ransomware attacks. Hackers use vulnerabilities to commit all sorts of mischief, including planting ransomware. The threat is so new that researchers still can’t be sure about its impact even after Apache rolled out a patch. It’s situations just like this that make improving cybersecurity all the more critical for businesses in 2022.

Contact BridgeheadIT For A Security Assessment

Our team of cybersecurity experts will handle everything from ransomware negotiations to EDR/XDR deployments alongside MDR services. We conduct holistic security assessments to build a plan of action and bring your technology infrastructure to its maximum potential without compromising security.

Schedule a confidential meeting to discuss your cybersecurity needs and how we can improve your posture with EDR/XDR and MDR layered solutions.

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(210) 477-7900

The average ransomware payout in 2020 was $170,404.

Ransomware as a service (RaaS) is a subscription-based model that enables affiliates to use already-developed ransomware tools to execute ransomware attacks.

The bottom line?

Sophisticated threats require sophisticated safeguards like an EDR/XDR with a service layer to incorporate an MDR solution.

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